§ The Stamp Duties chargeable under the heading "Conveyance or Transfer on Sale of any Property" in the First Schedule to the Stamp Act, 1891 (in this Part of this Act referred to as the principal Act) shall be double those specified in that Schedule: Provided that this Section shall not apply to the conveyance or transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section one hundred and twenty-two of that Act.
§ Mr. J. W. HILLS moved to leave out the word "double" ["double those specified"], and to insert the words "one-half of."
I wish to make an appeal to the Government in respect to this duty. The Section doubles the Stamp Duty on all sorts of property, except stocks and shares. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in has speech on the Budget expressly said that he intended extra taxation to fall on landed property; and, in fact, it is quite clear that it will. If you except stocks and shares, by far the larger part of transactions are transfers of landed property, and therefore there is an extra tax being put upon landed property. In the first place, all economists are agreed that this is the worst form of getting your tax, because it will restrict and hamper the transfer of property. In this Budget we have already increased the tax on land, and now we are going to put a further tax on transfers of land. The Stamp Duty will be paid by the purchaser of land. Take the case of a small purchaser. In the first place, I quite agree that the exemption of £500 is something, but it does not go far enough. There are a great many small transactions which go over that limit.
Take the case of a man who buys a few acres of land and spends a thousand pounds on it. He has now got to pay £5 taxes, and, if this Clause is passed, 420 it is increased to £10 for Stamp Duty. When you think of what happens, it is a very large proportion to the money that passes. Of that £1,000 the man will borrow the bulk of it on mortgage to the bank, and all the money that passes is £100, so that the tax you are imposing is 10 per cent. on the cash he has got to find. Surely all parties in this House wish to cheapen the transfer of land, and now you are going, in face of that fact, to impose extra taxes on the transfer. All it brings you in is about three-quarters of a million, and for that very small return you will do a vast amount of harm. What we want is to make the land pass freely from hand to hand, while this tax will very greatly restrict that operation. All economists, without exception, say that the worse time to collect a tax is in the form of a stamp on sale. I will quote one who is an authority. The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) quite recently published an interesting book, "The Socialist Budget," in which he proposed very drastic changes in the fiscal system. Amongst those changes he proposed to take off the whole of the £8,000,000 of stamps, because he said it is a tax on business. I think, when you get opinions in all quarters against the tax, that it does give ground for inquiry. In my opinion the tax is too high already, and it is a suicidal proposal to double it. It does not affect the big landowner, the big buyer who can afford to pay the tax, but it falls very hardly on the small landlord, on the man who buys land for a £1,000 or so. I am afraid after what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said last night that we cannot expect a concession on this, but I do hope the Government will consider it. I believe they do want to cheapen the transfer of land, and I am perfectly certain that this is a bad way of doing it.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)
The proposal of the hon. Gentleman, if carried, would halve the already existing charge on transfers of land. As the hon. Gentleman knows as well, if not better, than any Member in the House, the charge has existed in its present form and to its present extent for more than half a century—since 1850. I think it was imposed in the time of Sir Charles Wood, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it has remained at that rate ever since that time. Though a great number of Ministers followed each other, and though great 421 fluctuation in the price of land has occurred, no Government on either side has ever reduced it. I think it would be necessary for the hon. Member to make out a very much stronger case than he has done not to prevent the rising, but to diminish the duty to one-half. His main arguments were these, that you are raising the charge upon land by this Clause, but you are not raising the charge in respect of stocks and shares. That is true so far as this Clause is concerned, but it is not true in so far as the rest of the Stamp Clauses are concerned, because there the Stock Exchange transactions have a very considerable increase placed upon them. Therefore those who deal in stocks and securities have an increased charge placed upon them, just as those who deal in land have a somewhat larger charge placed on them. I think he has also omitted—quite unintentionally, I am sure—to point out to the Committee the relief that is proposed to be given by the Amendment, which will be accepted by my right hon. Friend, with regard to transfers under the value of £500.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I do not think it was enforced, and that it is very important he will at once admit. He has entirely omitted to mention that there are very substantial concessions, not to those who pass land from hand to hand, but to those who hold land, made by the Bill by the alteration which has been promised in respect to Schedule A, and certainly by the relief which is given to local authorities for rating purposes by the transfer to them of half of the Land Duties we realise under this Bill. In addition to that there is the likelihood, which will eventually come to pass, of relief in respect to the charge for the aged poor. I think, having regard to those circumstances, that really no case has been made out for halving the duty, which baa been continued by every Government of whatever political complexion for more than half a century. In view of all those facts, the hon. Gentleman will see that it is impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. E. G. PRETYMAN
I understand my hon. Friend has moved this Amendment really more with a view to raising the general question than with the idea of any expectation of the Government accepting the proposal. I myself think perhaps it would be better to reserve any general remarks I have to make on this 422 particular Clause until the question, "That the Clause stand part." I regard the reply to my hon. Friend as extremely inadequate, and I can only give the impression it made on me, and as having some little practical acquaintance with land, I am bound to say that all those benefits which we are to receive, with the exception of that as to Schedule A, are illusory. I cannot help again pointing out, and I do hope we shall not again have it repeated, how is it possible to claim at one and the same time that this amount which is going to be given to the local authorities out of the Motor Tax, which is to be solely devoted to new roads for motorists, how that at the same time is to benefit the taxpayer? [An HON. MEMBER: "The Land Taxes."] It is to be in respect of the share of the Land Taxes, but that is a very small matter, and I think it will take a long time to filter through to the owner of land. I note the admission of the right hon. Gentleman that the burden of the rates and taxes does ultimately fall on the owner. I take it that that must be implied, because unless the burden of the rates, to which this relief is to be given, does fall indirectly on the owner, there can be no possible connection between the two items. With regard to old age pensions, I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that we have a right to ask that the benefit shall be actual before the return that he asks for is made operative. So far I have not become aware of any benefit gained by local rates through old age pensions. I do not think it is possible to prove financially that any such advantage does arise. Unemployment has increased, and is increasing throughout the country, and any advantage obtained through the operation of the Old Age Pensions Act is more than compensated for by that increase of unemployment, which throws a heavy burden on the ratepayers.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
If it is understood that we are to have a real Debate on the merits of this Clause, and that any question which could be raised on this Amendment will then be in order, I shall not be desirous of continuing the present discussion.
There is no objection to raising the point on the question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. J. W. HILLS
Under the circumstances I will ask leave to withdraw the Amendment. Still, I think the increase is mischievous, and the relief to land from 423 old age pensions is entirely illusory. We have had practical experience on that point in Victoria, showing that the granting of old age pensions does not diminish the cost of the relief of the poor.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. FREDERICK MADDISON moved, in Sub-section (1), after the word "Schedule" ["specified in that Schedule"], to insert the words "except in cases where the amount or value of the consideration for the sale does not exceed five hundred pounds."
I gathered this morning that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was prepared to accept this Amendment, with the addition of words to safeguard the Inland Revenue from the tax being evaded by the division of property into lots of under £500. I thank the right hon. Gentleman very much for that concession. It is one which I think all Members, whatever their views on the general question of the Stamp Duties, will welcome. A large number of workmen in building societies, co-operative societies, and, to some extent, trade unions buy their houses, and most of them do not possess the whole of the purchase money of the property; therefore 30s. or £2 is a real deterrent to such transactions. But it was from the point of view not so much of the individual as of public policy that I placed this Amendment on the Paper. I hold the theory that no man ought to live in another man's house, and that the foundations of the State will never be so secure as when there is a large distribution of actual property in the country. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given a handsome, but, I think, just concession to the landlords—and, if necessary, I should support it in the Lobby—so he is now giving a concession to a totally different class, thus showing how well balanced a Budget this is, doing fairly by all classes.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Samuel Evans)
I cannot go into the interesting question raised by my hon. Friend as to the advisability of every man living in his own house; but, dealing with this particular Amendment, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to accept it in spirit.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The spirit and the substance. It is directed to freeing 424 from the increased Stamp Dunes transactions in the transfer of property of under £500 in value. The only reservation made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the transactions must be genuinely separate transactions; that is to say, that a transaction which in the aggregate amounts to £10,000 cannot be split up into 20 small transactions in order to get this relief in the matter of Stamp Duties. The question whether or not it is a separate transaction must be one for the Commissioners.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I understand that the Government have accepted not only the spirit, but the words of this Amendment?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
On Report. It must come in this Clause, and, since by the arrangement come to last night this Clause will pass almost immediately, and it is better that the words should appear on the Paper, our Amendment will be put down for the Report stage.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
The Amendment refers to the value of the consideration, and I understand the Solicitor-General to refer to the value of the property. The meanings are not exactly the same. Is the Amendment to be based on the value of the property or on the value of the consideration? I take it that when the Solicitor-General referred to the value of the property he meant the amount of the consideration in cash or the value of the consideration if it is in kind? I wish to raise the question of the instalment mortgage, whether it is charged on a house purchased under the Building Societies Act, or on a farm purchased under the Land Purchase Acts. When the hon. and learned Gentleman refers to the £500 consideration, does he refer simply to the amount which goes into the vendor's pocket? In other words, 425 suppose the owner of a house that has been bought under the Building Societies Acts sells his house for £500, and puts the money into his pocket. Will that transaction be exempted; will it come within the scope of the proposed Amendment?
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I am glad of that assurance, because the effect of it will be that in considering the amount of consideration in that case the amount of the instalment mortgage will be exempted.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I do not wish to be misunderstood. The hon. Gentleman put to me a case of a man selling his house for £500. I think the consideration there may be £500, but it is not quite the same case.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
All these transactions are in effect the same, an equitable redemption. Technically it is not so. For instance, in the case of the Irish tenant there is no question of equity of redemption at all. The State advances the money. It is not as if you were giving a mortgage, an equity of redemption. The money is secured by the annuity charged on the land, which of course the tenant purchaser is called to pay, and may pay off. But there is nothing in the shape of an equity of redemption at all. In the case of the ordinary building society mortgage there is as a rule an equity of redemption. The man who gets the money conveys the property to the Building Society, and there is an equity of redemption, and then there is a further clause providing that the amount of the mortgage shall be received in instalments. But the question as to whether there is an equity of redemption or not does not affect the substance of the transaction. But what exactly is the Government position in the matter? What I want to ask is this: Suppose a man has purchased his house under the Building Societies Acts, and is selling it for the sum of £500, which he gets into his own pocket. I am supposing he sells it subject to the mortgage, so that the mortgage will continue to subsist, which most building societies allow. In that case, will the consideration be taken at £500 for the purposes of this Amendment, or in estimating the amount of the consideration for the purposes of this Amendment will he add to the £500, or whatever the consideration is which goes into the pocket of the vendor, the 426 amount which is still due to the building societies? The same question arises in the Irish case, namely, the case of the tenant purchaser. If the tenant purchaser sells his holding for £500, the holding will still remain liable to the annuity; and I ask, in order to ascertain whether or not the tenant purchaser will come within the limits of this concession, will you to the £500, or other consideration, which goes into the pockets of the vendor, add the amount that still remains due to the State in arriving at the conclusion as to whether the man comes within the benefit of this Amendment or not?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The answer I have to give is this: The intention of the Government is that wherever the Stamp Duty, which is now to be regulated at 10s., and the amount governing it is under £500, that these transactions will be exempted from this increased duty. We are making no difference at all in the amount which regulates the amount of duty at present. We merely say, supposing you had a document which before the operation of this Act would be stamped on a consideration of £500 at the rate of 10s., it will still be stamped at 10s.; but if it exceeds £500 for the purpose of the calculation of the Stamp Duty then it will be subject to the increased duty under this Section.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman has, as I understand, answered the question in the negative. In other words, what he says is this: That the existing system will be allowed to continue. To that system we are absolutely opposed. I want to know why it is that the English building society case is going to be met, and the Irish tenant's case is not going to be met. That is what is going to be done. You are going to help the English working classes, and you are going to leave the Irish working classes unhelped. That is the whole story. I will illustrate it. Take the case of an ordinary working man who buys his house from a building society. Five hundred pounds may be taken to be the maximum of what an ordinary working man—the ordinary man who is, say, a member of a trade union—will give for his residence. That £500 in England includes both the consideration money and the mortgage money. In Ireland it is not so. What are you going to do in Ireland? I must say—I do not like to use the word "dishonest"—but I think it is mean to give every advantage you possibly can when there is a pressure from England, 427 and to deny the same concession, no matter what remonstrances or representations are made, from Ireland. Why should £500 be conceded? Because the demand comes from the English trade unions. That is the reason. There is no other. Because you propose to meet every case where the ordinary English Liberal has a grievance. What is the Irish case? The Secretary for Ireland has admitted that the landlord gets, altogether apart from the tenant right, an average of at least £400, and this in tens of thousands of cases. Take the case of a farmer who sells his farm for, in round figures, £500. He buys out the landlord's interest, which is another £500, and gets probably a reduction by so doing of £1 a year. How much does that add to the sale value? If he lives till 70 years have rolled over he would be no better off.
What you are doing is this: You discount that £500, and you make him pay £500 for his tenant right, and £500 for the landlord's right which he has purchased. You make him pay for the first time £1,000 consideration money, whatever in effect the money that he is getting in the open market is worth, instead of the £500 that his tenant right was worth. He probably will not get more as a maximum than £550, because the purchase—if you are to believe the story of all these tenants: that is, the "Freeman's Journal" story—they give twice too much for their holding. You increase the grievance because that money which would not be paid to the State for 70 years the State takes toll of at the present time. Is that fair? Remember, this Bill proposes to double that grievance. Why not treble it? Why not quadruple, quintuple it? Where is the magic equity in doubling it? Why not halve it? The right hon. Gentleman may say: "I want 'Dreadnoughts.'" What are "Dreadnoughts" to us? What have we got to do with "Dreadnoughts"? We are not afraid of invasion. [An HON. MEMBER: "No more are we."] Would not a fair thing be this, that the actual consideration money which passes should be the only thing subject to duty? But instead of taking the actual consideration money which passes as the subject-matter for your duty, you are actually making a man pay something which is never to be realised in his lifetime, namely, the value which will only become real in 70 years' time. There may be another Chancellor of the Exchequer wanting more "Dreadnoughts." He will not only then double, but perhaps sextuple the duty. Practically what you are doing 428 is this: You are saying to the Irish tenant farmer, "You are getting the benefit of British credit. Look at the glory of being annexed to a great Empire like this." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, you enjoy it; we do not. You enjoy being annexed to us; we do not enjoy being annexed to you. It is a question of taste. Very well, you say, "Look at the great advantage you have from British credit, and all the time this grand advantage will only accrue to this man in 70 years' time! The moment he wants to sell his farm and enjoy the advantage of British credit he finds his taxes are not merely doubled, but doubled on a fictitious quantity. I respectfully say that I think in very many cases it would be far better for the Irish tenant to forego his advantage, because at present he has got at least a liquid asset. He has got his tenant right, and can dispose of it in the open market and get a decent sum for it. You propose to come down and double his taxation. Remember this: You are not only proposing to do it in the case of the ordinary man who sells in the market place, but also in the matter of gifts inter vivos. That is to say, an old man and woman get tired of working their farm, and propose to hand it over to the young men, their sons, or to apportion it out among their girls as a marriage portion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says, "We will treat the transfer from father to son as if it were a sordid sale in the open market, and as if you were clearing out and getting the whole advantage of the conclusion of a sale, and leaving the district"; although in fact no money whatever passes. Look at the hardship of that?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
But it is doubling this tax! I respectfully say that you cannot discuss the second Clause without referring to that which doubles the tax.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
This only doubles the tax in cases which are chargeable under transfer by sale. The transaction from father to son will not be chargeable under it at all.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Is it clear that you are not to double the tax in the case of the transaction between father and son?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I am dealing now with the double tax, and I assent you are 429 doubling it in the case of father and son. I shall confine myself to the Section now before us, as I wish to keep within the ruling of the Chair, and I will exclude the case of gifts inter vivos. I ask is it fair to exclude practically all English transactions and to leave the peasants in Ireland, who are in exactly the same position as the English working man, liable for the increased duty? He is the owner of every stone in his home; he has built this home himself. The English tenant does not build his house or make improvements, but the Irish tenant does. Every stone in the farm is his, and in many cases, as will be remembered by those who listened to the Debates on Irish Land Purchase, the peasant proprietor is buying back his own improvements, and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer seizes upon this occasion to double this tax in the case of the poor Irish tenant. I respectfully say that the magnitude of this transaction is not appreciated by the House. If you take the statement of the Chief Secretary for Ireland—I do not agree with it, but I am willing to take the official figures which he gave—the money for Irish land purposes amounts to £180,000,000. It is conceded that the tenant's right is at least equal to the landlord's, and having doubled both you propose to put a double Stamp Tax upon both. That is the position taken up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, of course, we cannot but remember that this is done by a Government whose admission, according to their own Royal Commission, is that we are already unfairly taxed to the extent of two or three millions a year. I respectfully submit that this case is one of the greatest hardship. You tax people by Death Duties, you tax them on their beer and on their tobacco, and now the only liquid asset which the Irish tenant farmer has is to be hit by a double Stamp Duty. You are giving the English working man who happens to be engaged with building societies a valuable concession which you deny to the Irish tenant farmers, because they are not in the same position towards you that the English working classes are.
§ Mr. JOHN MULDOON
I really think the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to meet us by giving something more than he has done in connection with this concession. I do not agree that in this Clause you are applying a different law to Ireland from that which you apply to England. The law is precisely the same, but he clear claim in equity which we have—and that is 430 what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not sufficiently grasped—the clear claim in equity which we have is this. We have 200,000 purchase tenants in Ireland, and, as compared with that, the number of people holding under the building societies will not be more than one where we have 100, I would like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there will be many sales in Ireland where the actual consideration may be put at £200, but where there will be still more than £300 due to the Irish Land Commission. Where you write down under this Clause £500 for England as the figure for exemption, and thereby grant an effective exemption from this increased Stamp Duty in 99 cases out of 100, in Ireland in practice it is the same as if you said the limit shall be £200. I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to try and come the whole way and to define the "consideration," and if he does that we will be perfectly satisfied. I make a clear offer now. We do not base our chief objection at all to the question of doubling. When this Resolution came before the House in May last all the speakers admitted that if the Stamp Duty was to be doubled in England we could raise no fair objections against it being doubled in Ireland. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman in the case of this exemption to go this length. Let him say that in all such cases the consideration shall be the actual amount that the vendor has put into his pocket by reason of the transaction, and if he does that we shall raise no further trouble about it, even though we think the concession ought to go further. We have a reasonable and a fair case, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to take the bull by the horns and meet us. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Resolution was before the House, said he was willing to make a concession to these small tenancies. The British Parliament has spent millions of money in making peasant proprietors in Ireland, and, therefore, do not let it be said that what you give with one hand you take away with the other. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we who know this subject thoroughly, and who are dealing with it every day, assert, if the concession in Ireland is to be equal to the concession which is made in England, this provision will work inequitably with the greatest possible injustice to our country.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
The Amendment now under discussion is that of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. 431 Maddison). It will be withdrawn in a few minutes because the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised last night that he was bringing in an Amendment practically to the same effect, but he guarded himself in a very important direction. I think the Chancellor ought to be thanked by all people entering into small transactions of this kind for not increasing the duty upon them. I am against the increased duty altogether. I think it is entirely uncalled for, and there are many other reasons which we shall be able to give against it when the Clause comes before us, but I think this is a substantial concession. I should like to point out one or two matters that might be taken into consideration. One is the present inequality, which, I think, could be removed by the Chancellor's new Amendment. The point is not satisfactorily dealt with in the Amendment before the Committee. These inequalities are these: The scale starts at £5; it goes up gradually to £25; then it takes a jump to £50; then from £70 to £75, and then to £100. The effect is this: If the consideration is £25, the Stamp Duty is 2s. 6d.; if the consideration is £25 10s., the Stamp Duty is 5s. That is being felt in these small transactions to be a very abrupt rise, and what I want to point out is this, that if he could see his way to rub out these inequalities by rising by £5 he would remove hardships felt in conjunction with the existing scale. The next point I would like to indicate is this, that in a very large number of these transactions the parties are only dealing with margins. The man buying the property has frequently to borrow the greater portion of the money, and the man who is selling the property has very often to pay somebody else seven-eighths or almost the whole of what he has received. The consequence is that these sums for Stamp Duties which on the face of them look to be a small percentage are upon the actual transaction a very large item indeed.
We cannot help sympathising with a demand made so persistently from hon. Members below the Gangway. At all events, I sympathise with it. I feel there is a great deal in it. At present, as the law stands, and as it is not proposed to alter it by a clause or by Amendment, I was under the impression that the whole discussion was out of Order. In England, when a man has borrowed from a building society, that sum is to some extent free from 432 stamps, but when a man in Ireland owes money of the State that money is brought into account as part of the consideration. Of course, that is the point we have lost sight of in these matters. Take the case of a transaction where a man is selling off property for £1,100. There is a mortgage of £1,000 upon it, and the actual amount the man receives less expenses is £100. The Stamp Duty upon a transaction of £1,100 is £5 10s. It we pass this Clause it will be £11. The Amendment now before the Committee does not touch that at all. The Amendment does not alter the state of the law as we find it to-day, which says that the whole transaction, whether purchase price or mortgage money, must be aggregated for the purpose of the duty. It is not proposed to alter the law either in the Finance Bill or in this Amendment, and if hon. Members desire to raise this point their only method of raising it would be by a new Clause. At any rate, I cannot see how that point can really be discussed upon its merits before the Committee now. I do think it is not so much a case for giving a concession to people whose total consideration is under £500, but the real concession should be in the case of a poor man who wishes to sell his property, and who still owes a lot of money to the Government, and who when that sale takes place finds he is obliged to pay Stamp Duty on the whole of the money as well as on the paltry amount he is able to put into his pocket. That is the case, I think, which is practically made by hon. Members below the Gangway, and I am only sorry it is not the case which is really raised by this Amendment. I think it would be much more satisfactory in an exceedingly important case like this if we could get the Clause for discussion in Committee. Here we are proposing a most important tax touching the whole of the transactions of the community, doubling the ordinary Stamp Duty on transfers over £500. Thousands of these take place every week in the United Kingdom. Yet we are asked to take this matter blindly. We are told that the substance and spirit of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Burnley is going to be accepted, but, seeing the importance of the matter, I, for one, raise a protest against a Clause of this kind coming before us, not in Committee, but probably for the first time on the Report stage. I am not saying this in any hostile spirit, but I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be ready to admit that we are justified in a matter of this sort in raising the protest.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I approach this question from a different standpoint to that taken up by hon. Members who have spoken. The hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Watson Rutherford) has represented some of my views, but I would like to ask whether the statement is true that the proposal of the Government makes any difference between the law of England and the law of Ireland?
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
Then I understand it does not. Let me take for a moment the class of people represented by the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Maddison), who are mainly workmen who have taken a house from a building society and are paying certain instalments of money. I take it, if the half-owner of one of those houses gets £250 and still owes £250 to the building society, the Stamp Duty would be on the £500 and not on £250. I understand that it is the same in Ireland. If £250 is obtained by the tenant and £250 are due to the State he also will have to pay on £500, just as the English householder has to pay. I think our case in that respect is strengthened by the fact that the law, although it applies equally, applies to a larger class of people in Ireland than in England. There is, however, a great difference, which I strongly press upon the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When you consider the question of a tax of any kind in England and Ireland you must start from the proposition that the economic condition of the two countries is dissimilar, and, therefore, the same tax may have quite different results. A tax on beer will have comparatively little effect in Ireland as compared with England, but a tax on whisky in Ireland has a much greater effect upon the people of Ireland than a tax on whisky in England. As we have 200,000 owning occupiers of land in Ireland you cannot make any comparison between this class and the class referred to by the hon. Member for Burnley, because these transactions in Ireland are very widespread, whereas the transactions with which they are compared in England are comparatively a small number. I know that in England the number of workpeople who are acquiring their houses is already very large, and I am glad to say it is becoming larger every year. I think, however, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be wise to pay attention to the very important point raised by the hon. Mem- 434 ber for the West Derby Division of Liverpool in regard to cases where the owner only receives a very small margin of the purchase money. In the case the hon. and learned Member gave us where a man sells nominally for £1,100, and only gets £100 himself because he owes £1,000, he receives that £100 under very onerous conditions. If you take £11 from his £100 it will make the transaction a Very hard one. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will reconsider this question of the great difference between the number of these holdings in Ireland and the comparatively small number of similar transactions in England. I wish to say in conclusion that I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a very considerable concession in this matter.
§ Mr. MADDISON
Having regard to the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to insert words on the Report stage to meet my point, I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY moved to amend the proposed Amendment by leaving out the words "five hundred pounds," and inserting instead thereof the words "one thousand pounds."
I can well understand why the hon. Gentleman opposite, having got all he wants, is willing to withdraw his Amendment. The hon. Member has done good service to those he represents. I wish to point out that this concession, although it is a very valuable one for England, will have only a very small operation in Ireland. I do not make this proposal as being at all adequate to meet the Irish case. I am of opinion that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer acceded to this Amendment he would still leave the Irish case largely untouched. At any rate, if you raise the limit of the Amendment from £500 to £1,000 you will do something to equalise the conditions between the two countries. Stress has been laid upon the fact that the law in the two countries is the same. That statement happens to be one of those truisms which is worse than falsehood. The law is in form the same, but in substance it is quite different.
The theory that similarity of law represents equality of burden has been quite exploded in Ireland. Everybody knows that a tax takes a great deal more money in proportion out of Ireland than it does out of England. This point was discussed ad nauseum on the Financial Relations Commission, and I should have thought 435 at this hour of the day no one would have pretended that the operation of a tax was the same in both countries. In Ireland the operation of this tax will include half the land, and ultimately nearly the whole of the land of Ireland, whilst in England this question of the instalment on mortgage does not touch one 10-thousandth part of the property in England. Another important distinction is that in the case of a building society mortgage it does not extend to a period of more than 10 or 20 years. I do not think any building society extends the terms of repayment beyond 10 or 20 years, and 12 or 15 years would be about the average. Therefore the purchaser of a house in England who pays for it by these instalments on mortgage will complete the transaction within a period of 12 or 15 years, whereas in Ireland the instalment mortgage has to be paid in close upon 70 years. Accordingly, the Irish tenant farmer cannot hope to be the owner of the freehold in his own lifetime, and probably not even in the lifetime of his son. In the case of the ordinary workman's house in England, £500 might be taken to be the outside value, but that is not the case with the small farmer in Ireland. In Ireland an instalment mortgage of £300 represents only a £10 holding. I am rather overstating the state of things in the majority of these cases, and I should think the disproportion between the amount of consideration money which goes into the pocket of the vendor and the amount paid by the instalment mortgage would be still greater. I am considering this matter not merely as between the individual vendor or purchaser in England, but I am taking into account the amount of money which this proposal will take out of Ireland every year in taxation. I assert that for every £1 which this particular tax will take out of England in taxation it will take £10 out of Ireland.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
The Solicitor-General disputes that argument. No one can say that there is anything at all in England comparable to the extent to which these land transaction purchases have prevailed and will continue to prevail in Ireland. Therefore, leaving out of consideration the question of the individual vendor and individual purchaser, English or Irish, the extent of taxation will be wholly disproportionate to that which will be taken out of England. In addition to the disproportion which this tax will set up as be- 436 tween the amount payable in England and the amount payable in Ireland, there is the additional fact that the tenant purchaser in Ireland has the privilege of the so-called local registration of title, and has not only to pay the ordinary Stamp Duty payable in England, but also the very heavy duties fixed under the Local Registration of Title Acts. The area, therefore, over which this grievance operates is enormously greater in Ireland than in England. I agree this question would be more properly raised on another Amendment, but we must take such opportunity as the discussion affords. If we waited we probably would not have the opportunity at all, or at any rate we should not have the same attention given to the matter as we have by raising the question at this stage. The right hon. Gentleman must, in order to do for Ireland anything comparable to what is done for England by this Amendment, raise the amount in the Amendment from £500 to something like £1,000, and I therefore move to make that Amendment.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I have really nothing new to add, but out of respect for the hon. Member I will endeavour to make a reply to the speech he has made. The adoption of this Amendment would mean a very considerable sacrifice of revenue. If you exempted all transactions throughout the whole of the United Kingdom between £500 and £1,000 in addition to transactions below £500, it would mean a very great sacrifice of revenue, and a sacrifice which my right hon. Friend has warned me could not be made. The hon. Member has admitted what is perfectly clear, that the law is exactly the same in England as it is in Ireland, but he has stated that by reason of the local circumstances in Ireland that law bears more hardly upon a great number of people there. There are, however, many things which one might mention in connection with this very matter where the Irish tenant purchaser is in a much better position than the small owner who buys his house and mortgages it in this country. If a workman desires to acquire his cottage in this country, he has to pay Stamp Duty on the purchase, but in Ireland the vesting order transferring the property to the tenant purchaser is entirely exempt from Stamp Duty. That is a considerable difference in favour of the Irish tenant purchaser. The hon. Member further stated that there was this inequality bearing hardly upon Ireland. A tenant purchaser in Ireland, when he sells, has to pay fees in the local registry called the Registration of Title. True, but to use 437 the hon. Member's own words, "That is a truism which is worse than a falsehood." It means that thoughout the whole of Ireland these tenant purchasers have the great advantage of local registration of title.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
In 99 cases out of 100 the fact of registration in Ireland does not give a title. The tenant's title is not investigated, and you cannot go to the register and be satisfied. The title has to be investigated.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I have the honour of serving on the Royal Commission which has inquired into the registration of title in this country.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
That was not within its terms of reference. There is already in London, which has a population of five or six millions, compulsory registration, and, if registration of title is worth anything at all, you should be able to transfer land more cheaply and expeditiously. That, at any rate, is the intention. The next point the hon. Member made is that a larger number of people in Ireland will be affected than in England. We have not got the figures accurately of the people who deal in these small properties in this kingdom, but scores of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in this part of the United Kingdom own their own houses. It is not, therefore, true to say that it will only affect a small minority in England.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
Relatively, no doubt, that is so. The speech of the hon. Member and some other speeches would almost give anyone not acquainted with the subject the impression that we are placing a tax on these 240,000 people when we are doing nothing of the kind. It is only where people who have become tenant purchasers wish to sell their property that this Stamp Duty will be payable. I am 438 told, and I gather the hon. Member will not deny, that a considerable majority of the 240,000 tenant purchasers in Ireland, even supposing they want to dispose of their property, will be covered by the exemption which we make to my hon. Friend (Mr. Maddison). I do not, of course, know that, but I gather it is so from the intimation I have received. Practically every case where the rent is less than £10 would come within the exemption of transactions under £500, and the hon. Member will not deny that, at any rate, there are a very large number of those cases.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
Before this Question is put, I desire to make a short comment on what I grieve to say is the hostile, adverse attitude of the Government Bench. It takes my mind back over a long period of time. I have witnessed measures of reform introduced into this House from time to time for many years. I have heard appeals made to successive Governments from these benches, appeals to their judgment and to their reason on behalf of the Irish people, and I have witnessed these appeals ignored as they are ignored to-day. Acts of Parliament passed into law over 20 and 30 years ago have proved to be inadequate to the occasion, because the representations made from these benches were not listened to by successive Governments. I remember well the introduction of the Act of 1881 and of subsequent Acts, and I remember some hon. Members who are still sitting on these benches making representations to the Government to modify a clause here or to extend one there. Those representations were disregarded, with the result that further legislation was necessary, and you have been led step by step and from mistake to mistake until it was absolutely essential to introduce a law to enable tenants to purchase their holdings altogether. That is the result of the fatal obstinacy of successive Governments in not listening to the representations made from these benches. We have been told that vesting orders are not charged with the tax. It was to facilitate these transactions that the vesting orders were allowed to be made without the usual Stamp Duty. We are also told that the law is the same in both countries. Our suggestion is that the law should be made different in one country from that which it is in the other. That is no novel proposition. You are doing it every day. The laws of the three Kingdoms are not identical in many respects, and with regard to the holding 439 of land in Ireland, you have, by reason of its past history, been passing laws which outrage all the old principles under which property has been held. Is there anything unreasonable in the suggestion that the law should be made different in the two countries? It has been pointed out how that can be done. I do not intend to repeat what has been urged upon that point. The way has been made clear, and I trust that the Government will follow it.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The Almighty never shuts one door, we are told, unless He opens another. But as regards this House I confess my impression is it never gives relief in one direction unless it steals in another. Let me trace the course of these transactons. When the Resolution was passed in reference to this Clause it included all Stock Exchange transactions. There was immediately a clamour from the Stock Exchange at that proposal, because it would have netted from the Stock Exchange hundreds and thousands of pounds. The right hon. Gentleman tells us we must remember that this proposal of ours would involve enormous loss to the Treasury, but when the Stock Exchange raised its voice he at once gave way without even getting the value of a pound of tea in return. This Clause, in its present shape, which is a defiance of the Resolution passed by the Committee of this House, enacts that this Section shall not apply to the conveyance and transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section 122 of the Act of 1891. The Committee, therefore, passed a Resolution which captured all Stock Exchange transactions, but, because of the clamour which arose from the City of London—from the deadly enemies of the Liberal party—the Government at once yielded, and chucked that revenue into the Thames. What is the next stage of the transaction? Having satisfied the Tories, the Government found that the Liberals began to clamour, and hon. Gentlemen who represent English working men pointed out that all building transactions will be hit by this Clause. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, having met the Tories in the City of London, then proceeded to meet the Liberals—I do not complain of that, it was only right that they should be met under the circumstances—and he excluded all building society transactions. Lastly came the Irish.
440 Of course, it is quite right that the Irish should come last, because I notice that great things are going to be done for the Irish in the sweet by and bye on this Budget. They are going to be done on the third reading, or it may be on the Report stage, or perhaps in the House of Lords. I always notice there is something to be done for Ireland at some future date, which is not stated, by some statesman who has not yet appeared on the Treasury Bench. Accordingly we heard the suggestion made to-day that the right hon. Gentleman should allow the Irish claim to be passed over until after the Report stage; that, without absolutely refusing to yield, he should keep this matter dangling over the heads of the Irish tenants, and then we could go on voting gaily with him on the various stages of the Bill. I must say that the Solicitor-General is too frank and honourable a man to fall in with such a plan. He put his foot down and said, "You Irish fellows, I do not care one jot about you. I have given way to the Stock Exchange. I have released all their transactions from this duty. I have met my Liberal friends, and they are satisfied, and it is only the Irish Members who remain, but we shall get their vote no matter what we do, although their constituents will be hit by our present proposals." Let me deal with the arguments advanced by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He said that the building society man has to pay a Stamp Duty on the initiatory transactions, while the Irish tenant does not pay any Stamp Duty on his vesting order. That seems reasonable on the face of it. But to whom do the Irish tenants owe this relief? Do they owe it to the Liberal party? No. I will give you the reason why they have it. In 1903 the Conservatives were anxious to get done with all the trouble in Ireland, and to facilitate land purchase, and knowing that the Stamp Duty would be an obstacle in the way of a tenant, who would weigh carefully his position before he handed out any money for the purchase of his holding, the Conservative Government provided that there should be no Stamp Duty on the initiatory transaction or vesting order. Why? Because it would have been an obstacle to land purchase. That was the sole reason.
Let me remind the Committee also that when the English working man buys his house he sees that he has got value for it. He sees that value in the bricks and mortar with which the house is con- 441 structed; he knows, therefore, that he has got worth for his money. But what is the case with the Irish tenant? He is buying a holding which forty or fifty years ago had an annual value, it may be, of £2, £3, or £4, but by your furniture system of legislation you have allowed these tenants to be robbed of the improvements on their lands, and they are now paying £40 or £50 a year rental for those holdings. The tenant has to buy his holding upon that state of the market. The English working man when he buys his house is not charged more than the value of it, and he only pays Stamp Duty on that value. But the Irish tenant is not merely buying his holding. He is buying back practically his own sweat—the ditches and fences which he has made and the houses which he has built. It is said the law is the same in the two countries, and that, in fact, the Englishman is worse off because he has to pay a Stamp Duty on transfer, whereas the Irishman is practically relieved of that. You are engaged in passing a measure which worsens the position of the Irish tenant. You are passing it by means of the Closure, which has prevented us from pointing out how much worse you are making the position of the tenant purchaser than under the Act of 1903. Is it wise at the time you are worsening the terms of purchase to double the tax you place upon the tenant? The right hon. Gentleman says it must be remembered that this is not coming into immediate operation. What do you want it for? Is it not to raise taxation? You would not propose it if you did not intend to raise money by it. It may be that in the present financial year it will only hit a certain number of heads, but at the same time you would not propose it unless it was going to bring a certain number of sovereigns into the national purse. I know it will not give a quarter of a million men a slap in the eye at once. It will not take off all their heads at once, but it will do it gradually, and that is always what the tax collector bargains for. If he hit every one at once, there would probably be a revolution. He does his spiriting gently, and the
§ man who pays to-day may not think it worth his while to fight the case in the interests of the man who may not be called upon to pay until two or three years have elapsed. But I will tell you, however, what it does do. It decreases the value of every man's property. It decreases his estate, it decreases the asset he leaves to his children, it decreases the property which he may wish to sell, if anybody comes down upon him in bad times. We know that these concessions to Ireland, which are going to be made on this Budget, are not going to be given to us at this stage of the Bill. I congratulate the Government that, in the face of what is practically the united opinion of Irishmen, they, while yielding to the Stock Exchange and to English Liberals, insist on fastening this further taxation upon the Irish people.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that all sections of the Irish people and all Members of this House from Ireland are in favour of differentiating in this matter with regard to Ireland, bearing in mind the state of things obtaining under the Land Purchase Acts. I spoke upon this question at an earlier stage of the proceedings, and I gave my reasons for pointing out that that was so, but I am bound to say I think all these demonstrations by Irish Members below the Gangway are the merest sham, because they do not intend, as a party, to give a vote which would make their views felt. I do not therefore propose to argue this question further. I will only point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he and his Friends have made their bargain; they have got their Land Bill, and they do not care one hang about the Budget. What is the use, when we are trying to finish these Clauses, as was suggested last night, of all this tremendous talk below the Gangway, seeing that it means nothing at all.
§ Question put, "That the words 'five hundred' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 189; Noes, 67.443
|Division No. 700.]||AYES.||[5.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Bell, Richard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barker, Sir John||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Barnard, E. B.||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Barnes, G. N.||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Boulton, A. C. F.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Branch, James||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Brigg, John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Bright, J. A.||Holt, Richard Durning||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Robinson, S.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Horniman, Emslie John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jardine, Sir J.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jenkins, J.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Chance, Frederick William||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rowlands, J.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kekewich, Sir George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Clough, William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Laidlaw, Robert||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Seddon, J.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lamont, Norman||Seely, Colonel|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lehmann, R. C.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cox, Harold||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Snowden, P.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Maclean, Donald||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Macpherson, J. T.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||M'Callum, John M.||Summerbell, T.|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Micking, Major G.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Erskine, David C.||Maddison, Frederick||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Mallet, Charles E.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Marnham, F. J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Massie, J.||Toulmin, George|
|Falconer, James||Masterman, C. F. G.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Findlay, Alexander||Menzies, Sir Walter||Verney, F. W.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Middlebrook, William||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Walsh, Stephen|
|Gibson, J. P.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Gill, A. H.||Montgomery, H. G.||Wardle, George J.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard)||Waring, Walter|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Myer, Horatio||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Glover, Thomas||Nicholls, George||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gulland, John W.||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Partington, Oswald||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Paulton, James Mellor||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Pointer, Joseph||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Rees, J. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fletcher, J. S.||Oddy, John James|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gardner, Ernest||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gordon, J.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Healy, Timothy Michael||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hills, J. W.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kimber, Sir Henry||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Winterton, Earl|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Younger, George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Craik, Sir Henry||M'Arthur, Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Maurice Healy and Sir W. Bull.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think it is necessary that a few words should be said upon the bearing of this Clause upon the agricultural problem. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has in substance given us a somewhat important concession in regard to sales of under £500 in value, but I think the, Committee will generally agree with me that while that concession is of very considerable value in regard to small houses, especially where members of building and co-operative societies purchase houses such as those referred to by the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Maddison), it is of little or no value in regard to agricultural property, and particularly in regard to small holdings. I can, I think, make that statement good. In regard to small holdings the purchase usually takes place by the county councils. A very considerable amount of land has already been purchased by the county councils, and a very large amount of land is still under negotiation, and will be purchased by those bodies. I do not know whether when the Chancellor of the Exchequer or any other Member of the Government replies in this Debate he will give us any estimate—because I think it is rather important that we should have an estimate—of what is expected to be the sort of sum which county councils are likely to expend upon the purchase of land under the Small Holdings Act. I think it must be a very large sum indeed, and will certainly amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not more, and now by this proposal the Government are imposing upon the county councils who are to purchase land under the Small Holdings Act a duty of no less than 1 per cent. Surely that is rather an extraordinary proceeding, and the whole of that additional burden of 1 per cent. would be spent under the Small Holdings Act, and would fall upon the tenants of those small holdings. Then, again, if the occupier of a small holding desires to purchase his holding, he will again have to pay this duty, or if he sells his holding after purchasing it he will pay the duty.
No agricultural holding on which a man can live can be of the Value of less than £500. I do not say that there may not be exceptions to that, but, generally speaking, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks at the matter he will see that it is inconceivable to suppose that a man can bring up a family and live upon a holding 446 of less value than £500 in England. We have had considerable Debate on Ireland, and I am touching England only. I do not pretend to any knowledge whatever of the conditions of Ireland, and I make no sort of observation whatever about that country. In England the standard of living is higher, and it is perfectly certain that no considerable number of small holdings, or hardly any exist, on which a man can live and which are of a less capital value than £500. A holding will either have to be of considerable acreage, where the land is of no value, or, if the acreage is small, the only conditions under which the occupier can live would be that the land should be of high quality or of very considerable value; so that whether the acreage be large or small—I cannot conceive a holding of less than 50 acres for this purpose—it is obvious that the £500 limit is practically inoperative in the case of agricultural land, and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will bear that in mind when he comes to consider the Amendments on Report which he has undertaken to accept. I will make a suggestion, and it is this, that instead of giving this exemption to transfers under £500 he should exempt the first £500 of any purchase. The amount might be limited if you were to exempt the first £500 of any purchase up to a certain sum, and say in regard to all transfers below £5,000 or £2,000 the first £500 should be exempted. That would be some relief to the small holders. I am only talking of the increase of the duty; I am not talking of the old duty. As it is, it is no relief to the small holders, and an extraordinary heavy burden is being put upon the local authority, who have to purchase large blocks of land, and would be unlikely to come under any exemption which is given. Therefore, the whole burden will fall upon the occupiers themselves in case they get a transfer.
There is another hardship, and that is the case where property has been mortgaged. In regard to that I will repeat the figure which was given in the Debate on the recent Amendment. A man has a property worth £1,100, and he mortgages it for £1,000. When he sells he has only £100 to receive. He then pays duty on the whole £1,100, and that leaves him on the new scale £11 out of the £100, which be is going to receive in addition to lawyers' costs. I can quite understand that there will be great difficulty in altering that principle, but may I point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that 447 there is also a Stamp Duty on the mortgage, and that at least ought to be deducted? There is a Stamp Duty, I believe, of 2s. 6d. on mortgages, so that when there is a transfer of land under those circumstances and it is subject to mortgage, the man has not only to pay 2s. 6d. on the mortgage but an additional sovereign on the transfer in regard to the sale, so that the whole duty that he has to pay is really £1 2s. 6d. per cent. on the transfer of his property, and it is a very heavy impost. In regard to the burden itself, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was introducing to the Committee the Resolution covering this particular impost, used this expression:—The greater part of the additional revenue under this head will be derived from transfers of real property. As such property will benefit largely from the decrease of the poor rate, which must necessarily follow as the result of the adoption of a State system of old age pensions and other schemes of social reform, it is equitable that it should be called upon to contribute.It is perfectly clear that no proof whatever has been given us that the Old Age Pensions Act is going to have any effect in reduction of local rates. It is not for us to disprove it. The statement is made by the right hon. Gentleman as a justification for the imposition of this tax, and it lies with him to prove it, and if he makes that suggestion surely it is for him to see that the compensating burden which he proposes to put upon real property is not exacted before the benefit is received. Where is the benefit? Can he show us that there is any benefit? We have at present none, but we understand that the duty has to be paid forthwith on every transfer, and we should like to be assured and satisfied that the benefit is going to be received before the compensating burden is placed upon us. What is the next sentence? Not only is this to compensate for the benefit received by real property under the old age pensions scheme, but it is also to compensate for the benefit which is to be received owing to the reduction of rates through other schemes of social reform. I do not quite know what schemes of social reform are likely to reduce the rates. I do not think it is the experience of ratepayers that schemes of social reform reduce rates. But there is another side to the question. Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake that when he and his party introduce any further schemes of social reform no extra burdens are to be put on real property to meet them? If he will not give that undertaking, what does this mean? The 448 argument that the Chancellor of the Exchequer uses is that his new schemes of social reform are going to actually result in the relief of real property. The schemes are nebulous. Is it reasonable to impose a tax now in order to compensate for the relief which we are to get from schemes of social reform which are not even named? I really think it is impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to maintain that argument. It is quite obvious that we are getting no relief under the Old Age Pensions Act, and that we are not likely to get any relief in regard to any schemes of social reform. The real fact is that this is simply an additional burden upon realty and a burden in a very unfortunate form, because if there is one principle which has been debated in this House and throughout the country on every platform, and which has been perpetually discussed and enforced from every side of politics, it is that it is desirable to cheapen and facilitate the transfer of land. Here is a direct burden upon the transfer of land, and it is nothing else. I can conceive no more unfortunate form of attempting to raise money. I can see no advantage in it in any way. I quite understand that the burden of taxation must be increased, but you could not imagine anything more inconsistent or more unfortunate than to increase it in this way by making it more difficult for a man who cannot make the best use of land to transfer it to a man who can make a better use of it. So far we have had no sort of justification for it.
Invariably in these Debates the Government treat every tax based upon realty as though it were the only tax. Here is a tax which will mainly fall on real property. It is in compensation for some nebulous advantage which you are going to get under a nebulous scheme which no one has ever yet heard of or seen in any concrete form. We have received some concessions on Schedule A of the Income Tax to the extent of half a million, but that will not go mainly to agricultural property. If that half-million were confined, which it cannot be, to agricultural property, it would be a very sensible relief, and would very largely cover the ground, but it is on all repairs and maintenance of realty throughout the country, and the bulk of it will go to house property in towns. If half a million is distributed over all the property of the country, very little of it, in proportion, will go to agricultural land. But, in addition to this burden, we have Increment Value Duty, we have the Undeveloped Land Duty, we have the 449 Reversion Duty, and we have the enormous increase in the Death Duties, which is not only an increase in rate on agricultural property, as it is in regard to all other forms of property, but it is an increase in the method of assessment. Not only has the rate been increased on all property, but the method of assessment of agricultural property has been altered, so that a double extra burden is placed upon real property under the Death Duties. Under this Budget, therefore, we have been given half a million, a proportion of which will go to agricultural realty—a nebulous relief which I cannot count as worth anything at all. Per contra, we are to have this oppressive and badly considered duty, we are to have Increment Value Duty, Undeveloped Land Duty; we are to have the double increase of the Death Duties in addition to all the heavy burdens and the special Land Tax which realty already bears, and it is a great and unnecessary aggravation of the burden upon agricultural land to impose this duty now, and we most strongly protest against this, and we regard it as one of the worse features in this Budget.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I must at once clear up one misconception the hon. and gallant Gentleman is labouring under, and no one will be better pleased than he to know that he is mistaken. He is under the impression that this half-million is going to house property in towns. It is confined to cottages, and it will go to cottages and to agricultural land.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The real test that we propose is £8 valuation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman's first criticism was with regard to the £500 limit which we propose to insert on the Report stage. He suggested that that was inadequate to meet the case of a small holder. I agree—a small holder over and above a certain figure—but every small holder with a £20 holding will come under it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman says a man cannot live on a holding of that sort in England. A £20 holding will be exempt, and, after all, these small holders are not men who devote the whole of their time to their holding. They are very often men who have other rural occupations, agricultural labourers or rural artisans, and, therefore, though it may be perfectly true that a man cannot live on a £15 or £20 holding altogether unless it is quite near a market, a very large number of these holdings are 450 under that amount, and will be completely exempt. When they are over that amount it means that when there is a sale the purchaser pays. In my own experience the purchaser always used to pay the stamps. The hon. and gallant Gentleman suggested that the Government might exempt the first £500 up to £1,000. This concession will mean the abandonment of a very considerable portion of the revenue, which I thought might be derived from this tax. I do not know what the further concession would mean. I will make inquiries, and I will see before I make up my mind whether the revenue can afford to extend that concession. With regard to the third point, as to mortgages, I am not proposing to alter the general law at all. It is the present position, and it is right, otherwise you might get property worth £100,000 transferred, and not a penny paid on it. If it were sold subject to the mortgage there might be no value attached to the equity of redemption.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is a totally different transaction. It might have been entered into 10 or 15 years ago, and I do not see any reason why the mortgage stamp should any more be deducted than you would deduct the 10s. duty upon the sale. Now I come to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's general observations against the whole of our proposal. He asked if it is a revenue-raising proposal. I only defended it on that ground. I am not defending it as a proposal to encourage small holdings. The first thing I said was that even after deducting the duty it is the lowest stamp in Europe. Take France, which is a country with small proprietors—smaller even in many cases than in Ireland—the Stamp Duty is 7 per cent. In Italy, I believe, it is 5 per cent.; in Belgium it is 4 or 5 per cent. I know it is very considerably higher than this proposal. In Italy, in addition to that, gifts inter vivos are charged double—I think 10 per cent. In Germany the charge for local purposes is 2 per cent., and for Imperial purposes I think it is 1 per cent. The tax we propose is the lowest in the whole of Europe. It is really a very legitimate means of raising revenue for Imperial purposes. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Mr. Pretyman) criticised what I said in defence of the tax that it is perfectly legitimate to impose it, because it is to raise money for objects which will have the 451 effect of reducing local charges. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that the onus is on the Government of proving that the effect of the old age pensions scheme will be to reduce the poor law charges. All I have to say is that it certainly ought to reduce them.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Possibly, but there has hardly been time yet to show what the nature of the change will be. I should have thought that in the nature of things the effect would be to reduce local charges. What does it mean? There is no doubt at all that scores of thousands of poor people who would otherwise necessarily have gone on the poor rates will come on the pension fund, and if you relieve the poor rates to the extent of scores of thousands a year, then, if there is no reduction in the poor rates, the local ratepayer ought to begin to inquire the reason why. It must necessarily result in a reduction of the number of people charged on the poor rates. The local ratepayers are themselves to blame if it does not bring about a reduction in the rates. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that we should wait until that is brought about. We are raising money for that purpose. The Imperial Exchequer has a charge of £8,000,000 for that specific purpose, and I have to get the money in order to liquidate that demand. It is perfectly right that I should go to the source which will derive a considerable measure of relief from that particular proposal of the Government. The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked what are the other schemes of social reform which will have the effect of reducing the rates. I am afraid it would be out of order to embark on that at present, but they are by no means nebulous. I think I indicated them almost at ordinate length in the Budget statement. There was provision for sickness, invalidity, widows and orphans, and the unemployed. All these things involve charges which do undoubtedly increase the burden on the rates, and in so far as the sums which we propose to raise by this Budget are devoted to these objects, the schemes are not nebulous. They are quite definite schemes, and they will, or they ought to have, the effect of reducing the local burdens of the ratepayers. On these grounds, I think, when we are raising money for these purposes, it is quite legitimate for the Government to 452 resort to an increase in the Stamp Duty on conveyances and transfers on sale, apart from the general scheme of raising revenue.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I feel that I ought to protest formally against the whole scheme of this tax. I am convinced that the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot be aware of the very great harm which will be done in the country if the doubling of the Stamp Duty is carried out. I put down an Amendment which was ruled out of order. The object of my Amendment was to relieve pure personalty—such subjects as sales or transfers of life policies, reversions, goodwill, and patents.
§ Sir W. BULL
I am now suggesting an alternative method to that proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
What the hon. Member proposes would involve a considerable alteration in the revenue, especially when you comes to sales of goodwill. In these cases very often considerable sums of money are involved, and these are just the transactions in which the revenue does come in for a good share. I am afraid the leaving out of these would involve a loss which I could not agree to.
§ Sir W. BULL
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has answered in that way, I will not pursue the matter further.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The Chancellor of Exchequer has justified the Stamp Duty on land transactions on the ground that it is smaller than corresponding duties in European countries. He gave us the figures for Belgium, France, and Italy. I wonder if he has considered what the taxes are on Stock Exchange transactions in all the countries in Europe, and if he has, will he kindly tell us why he is exempting gambling from taxation? I mean exempting it in the sense that he is not raising the duties which are at present levied in connection with Stock Exchange transactions.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I am not merely doubling, but I am almost quadrupling the tax on what the hon. and learned Member calls gambling transactions.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I am dealing with transfers. The Clause says: "Provided that this Section shall not apply to the 453 conveyance or transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section one hundred and twenty-two of that Act." What I want to know is why the right hon. Gentleman, when he gives us the advantage of letting us know the European charges on land transactions, does not give us similar information with regard to Stock Exchange transactions which are exempted by this Clause? I do think it rather strange that the right hon. Gentleman should have put in a proviso to exempt certain Stock Exchange transfers. When he is taxing real property he should at the same time give us information how the law stands in foreign countries as to the transfer of personalty. I take note of the fact that when he proposed to tax this class of property he got a Resolution with the assent of an enormous body of the opinion in this House, and I do think that when he came to the Clause he should have told us why he did not adhere to his original proposal to hit everyone all round, and why the tax is left to hit Irishmen chiefly, or very largely at all events. Why has an exemption been made in the interest of a particular class owing to the clamour in the City of London? This was the occasion when I expected that the right hon. Gentleman would have entered into a defence of his concession to the City. We do not know what goes on in the private parlour of the Chancellor of the Exchequer when dealing with these matters. I have endeavoured to follow this very tangled scheme with as much closeness as I could, and I have not found any explanation from the right hon. Gentleman why he gave this exemption to the City. It is very desirable that we should know. I am sure he has a most valid reason, but we do not know it.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I really must remove the misconception under which my hon. and learned Friend seems to be labouring. I am not departing a hair's-breadth from the proposal I made in regard to this matter in the Budget statement except that I am accepting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Maddison) by relieving cases under £500. That is the only alteration I have made. There has been no concession to the Stock Exchange under this proposal. The concession made in regard to contract notes will come on later, but it has nothing to do with this tax. I am not receding here in the slightest degree from the proposal I made originally.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
I desire to associate myself with the observations which have fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. T. M. Healy) in regard to the exemption of stocks and shares from the operation of this Clause. If I understand the Bill, there is no proposal to increase the Transfer Duty on stocks and shares. The only increases contemplated are on contract notes in regard to the sale and purchase of stocks and shares, and what I wish to impress on the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that under the present system of stock and share business in this country about 90 per cent. of the total transactions entirely escape all contribution of Transfer Duty, and knowing that the right hon. Gentleman represents the Government which, above all things, is pledged to the suppression of gambling, I do put to him the suggestion that if he will consider the application of some provision of this Bill to the Transfer Duty on all contracts for the purchase of stocks and shares he will reap a very rich revenue. Quite 90 per cent. of the people who purchase stocks and shares purchase them solely as gambling transactions. They buy them and receive their contracts, they carry them over, as the phrase goes, and ultimately they sell them.
I do not think that this question arises. I do not know whether it is relevant to any clause later on, but it does not seem to me to arise here.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
You are the best judge of that. The point I was endeavouring to make, subject to your ruling, is this: That there should be no exemption, as there is in this Clause 52, of transfers of stocks and securities, because the majority of those transactions are essentially gambling in their character; and I was going to urge that the Chancellor should apply an increased Transfer Duty to shares and marketable securities.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I have sent for the Resolution, but I am positive that it is wide enough to cover a charge on these stocks and shares. I will probably have it in a moment, and meantime I would like the House to know and the country to know that the right hon. Gentleman is doubling the tax on the bogs of Ireland by a clause which exempts these securities as defined by the Act of 1891. The 455 Section says: "This Section shall not apply to the conveyance or transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section 122 of that Act," that is the Act of 1891. Here is what the Act of 1891 says: "The expression 'stock' includes any share in any stocks or funds transferable at the Bank of England or at the Bank of Ireland, and India promissory notes, and any share in the stocks or funds of any foreign or Colonial State or Government, or in the capital stock or funded debt of any county council, corporation, company, or society in the United Kingdom, or for any foreign or Colonial corporation, company, or society. The expression 'marketable security' means a security of such a description as to be capable of being sold in any stock market in the United Kingdom." So that any security that can be sold in any stock market in the United Kingdom is not caught by this Clause, but a miserable bog in Ireland is, and not only is caught by it, but the tax on its transfer is doubled. What is the defence by Radical Governments? They say, "If we tax these securities, people would go to France, to Russia, to America, for their gambling transactions." I say let them. I am not concerned for the prosperity of the London Stock Exchange. It is nothing to me. I am concerned for the prosperity of my country, my county, and my parish. I would like to know what the right hon. Gentleman's own people in Wales would think about the proposal that the little bit of mountain land in Wales, when it comes to be sold, is to have double the tax on it, but if you have a marketable security capable of being sold in any stock market in the United Kingdom, that is to be exempt from the operation of this Clause. The right hon. Gentleman has denied that the Resolution which was passed in Ways and Means would have enabled these transactions to be captured which are excluded from this Clause. Here is the Resolution of 18th May:—
"Motion made and Question proposed, 'That the Stamp Duty charged on conveyance, or transfer on sale of property or leases, shall be double those now chargeable.'"
It did not say "real property." It says "property," and therefore I am well within the bounds when I say that the Resolution which was extracted from the House of Commons would have enabled you to tax personal property, and that 456 you have simply confined your Bill to property in land. I do not wish to state this perhaps absolutely, but I believe I am right in saying that this is the first time that any special distinction has been made in a Finance Bill for 50 years. What the right hon. Gentleman is doing is this. Every wretched peasant that is selling his farm in Ireland will have his tax doubled upon him by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, while the man selling Bank of England stock, Bank of Ireland stock, Indian 3 per cent., railway stock, mining stock, and everything else on which the wealth of this country is built, even brewery stock, is exempt. Oh, where were the temperance principles of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? What a chance he had of hitting the distillers and the brewers by at least singling out their stock for doubling! But we know why he did not do so. It is because he could not have hit the distillers and brewers without hitting the railway men and the bankers, and all the rest of them. And so the right hon. Gentleman is reduced to this residium of taxing the ordinary transfer of land, most of which takes place in Ireland. He is doubling the tax, and I have pointed out in a former portion of the Debate that he is doubling the tax not on the consideration money, but on an imaginary consideration money which never passed. If he were to charge the banks or the brewers or the corporations only the actual consideration money, then, suppose I sold £1,000 Bank of England stock, I would only pay a tax on that £1,000, but if I sell land for £1,000 and there is a mortgage for £1,000 upon it, although I only get my £1,000, he levies his tax on £2,000. A more unfair thing could not possibly be imagined. "Oh, but," he says, "it has been the law of England." Yes, in the case of large mortgage transactions in the past; but when you come to deal for the first time with the small man, the annuitant, do you not think that the tax needs differentiating? Even as it is you will capture the tax from this mortgage annuity. Does it need doubling it? Could not you draw a distinction and have the incidence of the old tax in the case of the mortgage annuity and only double your tax upon the consideration money? That at least would give us some relief. Leave us the old tax. It is not a great deal to ask from the Liberal Government, that when you double your tax you should double it only upon the consideration money. Although I was contradicted by the right hon. Gentleman with regard to 457 the scope of the Resolution in Ways and Means, its terms, I say with great deference and respect, fully bear out everything I said.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
In view of your ruling on the point I wished to raise, may I respectfully ask, inasmuch as Clause 52 is the only Clause which in any way refers to Transfer Duty on marketable security, how can I deal with the matter on any other Clause?
Clause 52 deals with Stamp Duties on conveyances or transfers on sale, but what the hon. Gentleman was
§ dealing with was what he called gambling transactions, which I think are not conveyances or transfers.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
I understood you to say that the point I wished to raise could be raised on a subsequent Clause.
I had not time to look into when it could be raised. I simply stated it might possibly be raised on another Clause.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 205; Noes, 98.459
|Division No. 701.]||AYES.||[6.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Evans, Sir S. T.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Falconer, James||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Agnew, George William||Findlay, Alexander||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Fullerton, Hugh||Marnham, F. J.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Massie, J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Gibson, J. P.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Gill, A. H.||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Middlebrook, William|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Glendinning, R. G.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Glover, Thomas||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Barker, Sir John||Gulland, John W.||Myer, Horatio|
|Barnard, E. B.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nicholls, George|
|Barnes, G. N.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nussey, Sir Willans|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Bell, Richard||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Hart-Davies, T.||Partington, Oswald|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. George)||Harwood, George||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hedges, A. Paget||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maidon)||Helme, Norval Watson||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Henry, Charles S.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Higham, John Sharp||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Branch, James||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Bright, J. A.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rees, J. D.|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Holt, Richard Durning||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Idris, T. H. W.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Jardine, Sir J.||Robinson, S.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jenkins, J.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Chance, Frederick William||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Clough, William||Kekewich, Sir George||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rowlands, J.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Laidlaw, Robert||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lamont, Norman||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Cox, Harold||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lehmann, R. C.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Crossley, William J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Seddon, J.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Seely, Colonel|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Snowden, P.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Maclean, Donald||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyuiph (Cheshire)|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||Macpherson, J. T.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Callum, John M.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Erskine, David C.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Essex, R. W.||M'Micking, Major G.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Summerbell, T.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Walsh, Stephen||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wardie, George J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Waring, Walter||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Tomkinson, James||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Toulmin, George||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Verney, F. W.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Wadsworth, J.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gordon, J.||Muldoon, John|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Nolan, Joseph|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hamilton, Marquess of||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Oddy, John James|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Hazieton, Richard||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Malley, William|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hunt, Rowland||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bull, Sir William James||Joynson-Hicks, William||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Radford, G. H.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Reddy, M.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lundon, T.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Valentia, Viscount|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Arthur, Charles||Winterton, Earl|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||M'Kean, John||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fell, Arthur||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, George|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Meagher, Michael|
|Forster, Henry William||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. J. W. Hills and Mr. Leverton Harris.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mooney, J. J.|
|Ginnell, L.||Morrison-Bell, Captain|